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   RE: [xml-dev] XUL Standardization: Lessons from the RSS Civil War

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I've been reading some of the links from Sam's 
echo page.

1.  People who are terrified of MS should look 
around more.  Other companies can co-opt as 
easily and will if it's legal.  The obsessions 
with Microsoft are blinding and naive.

2.  RSS's big political problem is not Dave, 
or Sam.  It is the lack of a legal controlling 
authority.  RSS, like early HTML and other 
aspects of the web, was fielded witlessly.

It's been enjoyable reading.  People tossing 
the ecosystem metaphors around would do well 
to learn more about biological ecosystems. They 
are not efficient, they are not just, and they 
can collapse without much warning and no recourse. 
Nature is cruel.  That is why these systems are 
not ecosystems and why earlier writers only 
use that as a metaphor.  

Nature offers no guarantees and keeps only 
strict promises about energy and survival 
in a local niche given the econtonal exchanges 
at boundaries.  Nature is not ever-improving. 
It can scuttle like a crab, wastes time on 
lots of dead ends, and perfectly viable systems 
can be extinguished in a single lifecycle if 
they cannot adapt to an environmental change.

Human systems use human judgement.


From: Danny Ayers [mailto:danny666@virgilio.it]

>Depending on the conclusions you draw from the above, Dave has either
>demonstrated his openness to progress or bowed to the inevitable :

>"Tentative endorsement of Echo"


Such things may be or may not be inevitable.  It may 
come down to the legal firepower, at least in the States, 
one wants to use.  The outcomes of the court ruling 
on the distribution of Java by MS is that while MS 
cannot be compelled to distribute Sun Java, it being 
a Sun product, neither can MS replicate it.  It seems 
to come down to one cannot simply co-opt the work of 
another in the States.  Yes there is C# but one would 
have a tough time making that stick.  What is certain 
is that one cannot co-opt a brand.

The case for RSS is muddy, no doubt, and 
leaving personalities aside, no one will stop echo, 
even if it is clearly co-opting RSS.  The side 
effects of all of this aren't certain either.

At the end of the day, Sam Ruby is an IBM employee 
and Dave Winer is a UserLand employee.  Given that 
court ruling, companies may find themselves in the
position of either discouraging their employees to 
work on open source projects or specifications that 
have no clear owners, or in encouraging them 
to dominate them completely.  Given the risks in 
either strategy, it is safer to discourage it and 
to pursue proprietary alternatives or only work within the 
contexts of W3C-like consortia with clear policies 
and clear ownership.

It comes down to wikis are easy, wikis are fast, 
but wikis are risky.  I am reminded of the 
sage advice one gets in the music business about 
co-authoring songs:  get all the details in writing 
up front.  Otherwise, it will come down to who can 
afford the most legal services if it's a hit. Don't 
count on the fount of human kindness at that point. 
Money changes everything.  Been there.

Nothing stops a vendor or anyone else for that matter
from screwing around with a spec; one can stop them 
from co-opting it but only if one has some proof 
of ownership.    No one can cry 'standards!!!' 
in the case of RSS because there ain't one.



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